Simpson should express tolerance

Simpson should express tolerance

by Shara Tibken

It’s not really news that Simpson College has little diversity. Many small, Midwestern schools don’t. Despite that fact, Simpson tries to celebrate diversity by hosting speakers and other events, like the International Food Fair.

Then something like the hate crimes happens.

In a matter of minutes, all the good that’s done by students and other members of the college is put into question. Do any of those actions matter? How could this happen? Does anyone care?

There are no easy answers to these questions, but what’s important is we’re trying.

So far, the campus has rallied to denounce the words of the graffiti artist, and faculty and staff have spoken against the hatred and have tried to show that’s not what Simpson stands for.

The employees of Student Development signed a petition and posted it around campus, and faculty members and administration sent out e-mails and discussed the events in their classes.

The students also took action against intolerance. Simpson held a candlelight vigil for the hate crimes, and Sophia hosted a Take Back the Night rally to raise awareness of domestic violence.

There were approximately 70 students at both events, which is a great turnout for Simpson programs. In a college like Simpson, the best-attended events are the ones that serve food. Even without bribery, many students showed up at these demonstrations.

We do have to be realistic, though. There are still many obstacles to tolerance the college has yet to overcome.

Most events celebrating diversity are held during specific months, like Black History Month in February, instead of being spread throughout the year.

A student I have class with spoke about how he feels Black History Month is like an exhibit at the zoo. We pay attention to African Americans for a short time and then ignore them for the rest of the year.

Also, many Simpson students seem like they don’t really care. I don’t think this is necessarily the case, but we’re too busy and wrapped up in our own lives to have much time for other things.

I, for one, was completely shocked something like the hate crimes could happen at Simpson, and I know many other students felt the same way.

It seems like Simpson students live in this little bubble where everything seems peachy and they don’t have to worry about the problems of bigger schools and cities. The recent hate crimes on campus have shown we do have to face these issues.

Now that it’s been a few weeks since the hate crimes, attention has started to wane. Students are going back to their regular worries and actions, and the passion that arose right after the crimes has lessened.

We can’t let ourselves get too busy to care. April 7 is the third annual End the ‘Isms’ March. This is a great opportunity for the Simpson community to affirm again that we don’t stand for violence and hatred.

I’m proud of Simpson, and I think the students are mainly tolerant and open to new ideas. We just have to express that tolerance instead of idly standing by. Let’s show the community how much we care.